Micro Machines themselves date all the way back to the 1970s, but the brand tried something very different with the 1991 leap to the Nintendo Entertainment System. This took the tiny racecars that you may have been yelled at for leaving on the floor around the house and made them into a fun gaming experience. We’ve seen the series pop up a few different times over the years and now it has returned in the content lacking Micro Machines World Series.
There isn’t an awful lot to say about what Micro Machines World Series offers to the player, as it’s very basic, which can can be seen from the game’s selection menu. From the Play option, you can either choose Quick Play or Skirmish, along with Ranked Match being available later on, with each basically being about the same thing.
Quick Play is the first of them that you can choose from, which actually will try to match you with other players online in three types of events, Race, Elimination, and Battle. The only problem is that there seem to be very few people online at any given time, with the most I’ve ever managed to match with being three human players, with the rest being filled with AI. These typically have an estimated wait time of about a minute and a half, though if no matches are found, it will eventually just pit you against nothing but AI characters.
Across the three modes, you will have 12 different vehicles to choose from, which include the likes of a firetruck named Chief A. Blaze, a tank named G.I. Joe Mobat, and a flame painted car called El Incendio. While much of the game is rooted in the past, Micro Machines World Series adds in loot boxes as well that include simply cosmetic changes to the vehicles, including new skins, voice lines, gloats, and grave stamps. These loot boxes are earned at each new level you reach, though you can also use the in-game coins you get from loot boxes to buy what you want, similar to the system found in Overwatch.
Racing is pretty basic, as you will be racing against 11 other opponents in one of the games uniquely designed tracks. The first thing that will stand out here are the very different from your usual racing game controls. With a top down approach, you will be holding down right trigger to move, with your direction coming via the left analog stick, though you are simply tilting it to go around corners and such. This can take some getting used to, but it’s not too bad after awhile.
Winning the races will not be just dependent on your racing prowess however, as you can pick up and use a few weapons as well. These include a NERF gun that appears on top of your car that have multiple rounds to fire at opponents, a hammer that can instantly destroy any opposing racer with a single hit, as well as a bomb you can drop behind you to knock out trailing opponents temporarily.
Elimination mode has you facing off against five other racers in a multiple round setup within the existing race tracks from Race mode, with the six of you racing to see who can stay alive the longest. The first place finisher in that heat doesn’t win it all, but rather moves closer to the overall finish line, with the order everyone finishes in deciding how far they move closer or further away from the finish line. The only frustrating part is that often the screen itself is what will cause you to be destroyed rather than opposing racers.
Battle mode has you working as part of a team of six players against six others on the other team in a few different game modes, though still fairly similar. Unlike in Race and Elimination mode where you are reliant on power-ups to attack opponents, Battle mode provides each vehicle with four distinct attacks to use against others. The vehicle choices are mostly superficial otherwise, but they play a major role in Battle mode as a result, making it worth trying each one.
Among the game types in Battle mode is a capture the flag mode that has you trying to break into the opposing team’s base to steal their flag and return it to your own. Somewhat similarly, there is a plant the bomb game type as well where you race to grab a bomb from the middle of the battlefield and then plant it in the opposing team’s base. Perhaps the most fun of the bunch though is the game’s take on the king of the hill. While it is nothing out of the ordinary, this is where you can have the most fun of all in Micro Machines World Series.
Unlocked after you level up a bit, you can gain access to Ranked Match, which is pretty much a carbon copy of Quick Play, though with a ranking system. By competing in Ranked, you can earn points that will let you get to higher divisions and win prizes, with you starting off at Bronze level. This is yet another way you can earn loot boxes, but it doesn’t really offer much of anything else, especially with it seemingly resetting every month or so.
For those looking for local gameplay with friends, you may feel a little disappointed upon looking into Skirmish mode. First of all, Race mode is limited to single player only and Battle mode isn’t even an option. There is a fun Free-For-All mode that just has you going all out with the vehicles weapon’s on one another, but leaving out the most fun aspect of the game in Battle mode entirely was a horrible idea.
The absolute best part of Micro Machines World Series is without question the aforementioned very neatly designed levels that reference back to some of the classic level designs from the past games. Ranging from racing around a table full of breakfast foods to a game room with a pool table that is full of board games, making nice use of the Hasbro license. The game obviously didn’t need amazing visuals, but they do their job at showcasing these well designed stages throughout the different games modes.
Beyond the minimalist approach found in the game, it doesn’t always perform that well either. The frame rate and such didn’t seem to have any issues, but the game is very glitch prone. I had a number of different races where it would start and no other racers would move, though they evidently still actually would race invisibly while they would appear to stay in place. Adding in the very strange respawn system that would often put you in a better spot than when you fall off the map, the game is certainly very glitchy.
Micro Machines World Series is the very definition of a game that sounded like a good idea, but struggled to bring everything together. Battle mode can be a lot of fun, though it’s really disappointing that you cannot play it with friends locally. If you’re a fan of the classic Micro Machines game on NES and were looking for a simplistic modern version, this may be the game for you. Otherwise, you’re likely going to feel very disappointed with the very bare bones Micro Machines World Series.
Micro Machines have been around for decades in one variation or another and Micro Machines World Series mostly disappoints in capturing the essence of the original release on NES. When the number of game options in a modern game feel like they aren’t much of an upgrade from an old NES game, you know there is a problem, which is the case with Micro Machines World Series.
5.0 Pieces of Product Placement Out Of 10
Release Date: June 30th, 2017 (US)
Available Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Just Add Water
Disclosure: Micro Machines World Series Was Provided By The Publisher For Coverage Purposes